Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Paranoid parenting

When I was pregnant with the wee one I signed up to quite a few baby websites. Being a first time mum, I thought it would be best to be armed with knowledge, and that their message boards would be a great place to chat with other parents. 

Turns out, I was totally wrong. All it did was turn me into a paranoid, worrying, gibbering wreck. (Well, worse than usual anyway!). Instead of being a positive place, full of useful tips, and support, what I found was lots of conflicting advice and scaremongering. Instead of getting positive, don't worry this happens to everyone replies, I noticed that people would reply with worst case scenarios. The mildest  of symptoms would always lead to replies of "oh it sounds like X, cos someone I know had it and their baby ended up in hospital", when it could be down to something really simple. Everyone's an Internet doctor/expert.  So I ended up veering away from those websites because the more I read, the more my mind jumps to the worst conclusion, instead of using my head and gut instinct. 

However, I still recieve emails from these websites. Very rarely do I even open them, because their title is usually something scaremongery. This week I opened one with the title "7 Disturbing Toddler Habits". Then the text inside "7 Disturbing Toddler Habits: Nose-Picking, nail-biting & thumb-sucking.
He always has his hand down his pants. Seriously? Are these things normal?

Hardly disturbing right? To me, they all seem like normal things kids do. But to anyone, like me, who's a little less secure in their parenting skills, it's enough to make you worry if your child IS acting in a "normal" way. 

Similar emails I've had have had headlines with articles like "My Traumatic Birth", "What's You're Baby Afraid Of" "Stroller Injuries" and "Sibling Bullying and it's Lasting Effects". Ugh. Makes for really depressing reading. 

I'm sick of scaremongering emails. Where are the emails to say, "hey, you, 1st time parent! Don't beat yourself up, you're doing a great job!"?

I've decided I'm unsubscribing to these emails, they're getting thrown straight in the trash, and we're going to be less paranoid, (or try at least!).  If I'm looking for advice, I'll ask family, friends, or even Twitter, where folk are so supportive and give the best advice. 

Stuff the baby websites, we're doing fine without them. 

Friday, 14 June 2013

Work

Although my job title is mentioned in the title of my blog, I very rarely mention it at all in any blog posts. Partly for the reason that when I'm not working, I prefer not to think about it. Another is that, due to patient confidentiality, I can't talk about or describe anything that happens in a blog post, so I'm very rarely compelled to post about work. 

However, I've had a particularly tough weekend. Not only is my ward a particularly busy medical ward, but we have lots of single side rooms, which means we tend to get a lot of patients who are in the last few days of their lives. This weekend, I have been nursing seven patients who are at the end of their lives, three of whom where in their last hours. Which has left me a little bit emotionally drained. I love nothing more than doing my best to make sure that patients are pain free, comfortable and treated with the utmost dignity, that everyone deserves. Patients like these are why I became a nurse. 

You try to be as strong as you can. For the patients, but mostly for their families. You become the shoulder to cry on. The person they take their anger out on. The one they ask all the questions they forgot to ask the doctors. And you do the best you can. 

Then sometimes your emotions catch you by surprise. 

I received a patient from A+E at around 4am on Sunday morning. His family arrived with him and he was not expected to live so he was with us for end of life care. But within 15 minutes of his transfer, he had passed away. His family were around him, including his two sons, and after doing all the usual checks, I left the family to have some time alone. And when I got back to the nurses station, I started to cry. I don't know where it came from. And it felt silly, because I didn't know the man, or his family, but I was overcome with a wave of sadness. It was Father's Day, and two sons had just lost their father. Eight hours prior they'd been sitting having dinner together, they no doubt had written their cards for him, and now he was gone. And I felt overwhelmed. 

Where it came from I don't know. Perhaps it was an accumulation of dealing with three seperate, grieving families, mixed with the tiredness of nightshift, and genuine sadness for the family. But you pick yourself up, dry your eyes, and hope your colleagues didn't see you. 

You never get used to patients passing away. I believe that if you do, then it's time to get out of nursing.  On Sunday morning, I took a detour to my parents house on the way home from work to give my dad his Father's Day gifts, and a few more kisses than usual. 

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